'Eastgate Street, Chester, from east of the Cross looking towards the Eastgate. The Grosvenor Hotel on the right' signed 'Louise Rayner' (lower right) watercolour 40.5 x 57cm (15 15/16 x 22 7/16in).
This view of the prosperous main shopping street of Chester shows The Grosvenor Hotel as it was rebuilt 1863-66, designed by Thomas Mainwaring Penson. The Talbot Inn was previously on this site. In 1777 new assembly rooms were added to the Talbot Inn by public subscription, and in 1785 it was rebuilt on a lavish scale as the Royal Hotel. The hotel was renamed The Grosvenor Hotel after the redevelopment of 1863-66. On the left can be seen the classical facade of the present-day NatWest Bank.
The elevated viewpoint for this painting, which makes the Eastgate the focus of the composition, is unusual in Rayner's work. The Eastgate was rebuilt in 1768-9, paid for by Richard, Lord Grosvenor, and replaced a four storied medieval defensive gateway which was topped with battlements.
Sources (for this and subsequent four lots): Boughton (Peter): Picturesque Chester - The City in Art, Chichester, 1997 Carrington (Peter): English Heritage Book of Chester, London, 1994